IPVanish VPN Review (2019): New Data + Pros & Cons

IPVanish has a decent number of servers and features, top-notch security, a strict no-logs policy and a reputation for speed. But it’s price is slightly above average, so is it worth it? Let’s see how it fares under our testing.

PROS

  • Record server numbers
  • 6 connections allowed
  • 2 kill switches
  • Specialist servers
  • Some very cheap prices

CONS

  • Slightly faster speeds
  • 94 countries
  • Record Netflix access
  • Full access torrenting
  • Easy-to-use app

Speed & Expectations

Today we all expect high internet speed, so VPNs pay big attention to this factor.

Unfortunately your connection is going to decrease in speed when using a VPN because of all those extra miles and encryption it has to go through.

Obviously before you buy, you want to know how much this is going to affect you, which is why we put all the VPNs we review to the test.

Speed is a complicated beast, so you have to measure three metrics:

  1. Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.

  2. Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.

  3. Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.

We conducted speed tests measuring each of these metrics at different server locations across the globe. We also ran tests without the VPN, so we would have a baseline with which to compare the VPN speeds. The baseline test was carried out using a 100mbps internet connection in Chicago, IL.

We also ran 5 tests each time for better reliability.

Speed results

The results of our baseline tests were as follows:

So the average baseline score was:

  • Download: 81.4mbps
  • Upload: 12.1mbps
  • Ping: 10ms

Next we connected to a IPVanish United States server:

US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:

  • Download: 52.5mbps (35.5% slower)
  • Upload: 11.5mbps (4.7% slower)
  • Ping: 34ms (240% longer)

(As we were testing from the US, you’d expect this close server location to be the fastest result.)

Next we tested Europe:

Europe’s averages were:

  • Download: 37.7mbps (53.6% slower)
  • Upload: 9.8mbps (19% slower)
  • Ping: 113.8ms (1038% longer)

Here’s Asia:

Asia’s averages were:

  • Download: 22.6mbps (72.2% slower)
  • Upload: 1.9mbps (84% slower)
  • Ping: 424.4ms (4144% longer)

South America:

South America’s average was:

  • Download: 19.9mbps (75.6% slower)
  • Upload: 9.4mbps (22% slower)
  • Ping: 152.4ms (1424% longer)

As for Africa, the servers weren’t functioning at the time of the test.

Unless your an expert in speed, these numbers won’t mean much on their own. So let’s compare them to some other VPNs to get an idea of how IPVanish really performs against the competition.

First up, how did download speeds compare?

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
IPVanish-36%-54%-72%-76%n/a
NordVPN-40%-99%-69%-58%-75%
ExpressVPN-71%-58%-64%-95%-67%
Avast-45%-63%-72%-66%-77%
Windscribe-44%-57%-80%-98%-73%
Average-47.2%-66.2%-71.4%-78.6%-73%

Download speeds were well above average for the US and Europe, just above average for South America and just below average for Asia. A. In fact IPVanish had the highest scores for the US and Europe.

Now let’s take a look at upload speeds:

USEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
IPVanish-5%-19%-84%-22%n/a
NordVPN-13%-46%-26%-16%-70%
ExpressVPN-9%-24%-34%-72%-42%
Avast-13%-42%-78%-70%-77%
Windscribe-6%-17%-52%-97%-53%
Average-9.2%-29.5%-32.4%-55.4%-60.5%

Upload speeds are well above average for the US, Europe and South America, but well below average for Asia, with an 84% reduction in speed.

And finally latency:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
IPVanish240%1038%4144%1424%n/a
NordVPN34%1278%2328%1560%2696%
ExpressVPN98%965%2122%1545%2461%
Avast33%1133%2465%1556%2815%
Windscribe310%1018%1904%2042%2782%
Average143%1086.4%2624.5%1625.4%2688.5%

IPVanish doesn’t do so well with latency. Speeds are above average for South America, just above average for Europe, below average for the US and enormously slow in Asia.

Speed (Summary)

IPVanish scores some high speeds, especially for download and upload, although the Africa servers were down in our testing.

Performance & Features

With speed out of the way, let’s take a look at the main features IPVanish has to offer.

Number of Servers

1,100 servers. How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.

This is a high amount, although there are several VPNs in the 2-5k range.

But let’s be honest, 1,100 should be more than enough for the average person.

Number of Countries

60+ countries. How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.

Again this is high and should be enough for the majority of people; here’s a very clear list of all the servers and a handy map.

However, a few other VPNs offer more, such as PureVPN’s 140 if you have some very specific unusual country requirements.

Number of Connections Allowed

10. How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.

IPVanish is very generous here; most VPNs only offer 5 connections. You should struggle to find enough devices to stretch up to this limit, meaning you never have to worry about maxing out.

Torrenting Allowed

Yes (all servers). Whether you can download and share files on a peer-to-peer or P2P network as opposed to a single server.

Torrenting is allowed on all its servers. A lot of VPNs place some restrictions on torrenting, so this another bonus for IPVanish.

And unlike most, IPVanish is very torrent-friendly on it’s website.

It also offers a different protocol for torrentors: SOCKS5 proxy. This gives you much faster speeds (although it’s less secure, but still hides your IP address). This is a great extra that most torrentors will appreciate.

This is what is behind IPVanish’s ‘fastest VPN for torrenting’ claim.

Kill Switch Available

Yes (Windows and Mac). Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.

A kill switch is available on Windows and Macs, but nowhere else. Bad news for mobile users, although to be fair by comparison quite a lot of VPNs don’t offer any kill switches.

Performance and Features (Summary)

IPVanish pretty much kills it in this section, with a high number of servers, a whopping 10 connections, and full and fast torrenting access with its SOCKS5 proxy. The only letdown is the lack of kill switch for mobile.

Privacy & Security

How secure is your VPN, really? There’s a whole host of vulnerabilities VPNs are subject to, and you also need to pay close attention to their policies.

First up, we looked at the following potential vulnerabilities:

Protocols/Encryption: IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, SSTP, PPTP protocols with AES-256 encryption

This is all very technical, but basically a VPN hides your data you using various encryption methods and protocols.

IPVanish offers an incredible number of protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec, which are the most common and very secure. They also offer PP2P and LT2P. Not many VPNs offer all these.

And the encryption is AES-256 which is also top-notch and the one used by the US government.

Leaks

We also checked for DNS, IP, WebRTC and Chrome extensions leaks, as well as viruses:

DNS leaks: None found.

IP leaks: None found.

WebRTC leaks: None found.

Chrome extension leaks: None found.

Viruses/Malware: Trojan found.

A Trojan was flagged by our virus scanner. However, since only one anti-virus software detected this, and IPVanish is a reputable program, it’s extremely likely that this is a false positive.

Legal issues

Jurisdiction: USA. What are the data laws of your VPN? IPVanish is based in Florida, USA, which makes it a founding member of the Five Eyes Alliance.

This is bad news as Five Eyes countries agree to share any data they have with other countries in certain situations.

The risk is small, but it’s there, and depending on your online activities and the logging policy (see below), some will worry about this more than others.

If you’re worried, there are plenty of VPNs that are based in countries outside these agreements, such as ExpressVPN.

Logging policy: ‘No logs’ policy??

How much data does the VPN collect on you for its own records? If they record your browsing history and this was hacked, sold or shared, this would kind of defeat the point in having a VPN.

Like most VPNs, IPVanish states that it has a ‘no logs’ policy. But let’s dig deeper.

It states in their privacy policy that they collect:

  • Your email address
  • Payment information
  • Cookies

They also collect the following in aggregate:

  • Page requests
  • Browser type
  • Operating System
  • Bounce rate
  • Average time spent on our Site

They also say they ‘may compile some statistical information related to app crashes.’

This is extremely minimal. It doesn’t even include things you think they’d need like the number of connections, server loads or bandwidth. Wait, is that suspicious?

Unfortunately, trust was questioned in this provider after it emerged IPVanish provided logs to US authorities in 2016.

They basically said ‘not my problem’ since the company changed ownership after the incident. Personally I feel they should have done more.

For example, NordVPN has done an independent audit and Windscribe provides a transparency report of all data requests by the authorities.

Privacy and Security Summary

IPVanish offers great security and a strict no-logs policy, but they also broke this in 2016. They’ve since changed ownership, so the jury’s out on this one.

It’s also part of the Five Eyes agreement, which means it could potentially share any data it does have with some other countries if requested.

Usability

This section looks at how ‘usable’ IPVanish actually is, including:

  • Streaming/Geo-spoofing
  • Compatibility
  • Overall UI/UX

Streaming/Geo-spoofing

One of the major benefits to a VPN is accessing streaming services like Netflix, especially when you’re abroad.

You might assume that using a VPN would allow you access no problem…I mean you’re connecting to a server in another country, so it should be fooled, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately Netflix and other services like Hulu and Kodi are employing some pretty sophisticated techniques to detect VPN usage and block it.

So we put IPVanish to the test against all major streaming services in the US, Europe, Asia and South America.

During our testing the Africa servers wouldn’t work, so we couldn’t test these.

  • Netflix: Partially detected. Netflix worked in the US but nowhere else. A pretty good result considering a lot of VPNs don’t have any Netflix access. But NordVPN works in a staggering 5 countries if you need more.
  • Hulu: Partially undetected. Just the same as Netflix, this works in the US but nowhere else.

  • YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked in all locations (this is generally the easiest to access).
  • Kodi: Undetected. Surprisingly, Kodi also worked fine in all server locations. Great news for Kodi fans.

Compatibility

10 connections is great, but does IPVanish actually work with all your devices? It’s important to check this, as some VPNs support hardly any.

So we looked at everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers.

Here’s the results of our testing:

  • Tor browser: Supported. The Tor browser works fine with IPVanish, perfect for those who need another layer of protection.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Unsurprisingly, IPVanish works fine on Apple devices running iOS, including the latest versions of iPad and iPhone.
  • Android: Supported. IPVanish also works with Google’s Android operating system which covers everything from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even TV media sticks.
  • Smart TV’s: Supported. Happily IPVanish works on Smart TVs. A lot of VPNs have restrictions on this so way to go IPVanish.
  • Amazon Firestick: Supported. Shockingly Amazon Firesticks are supported as well. This is a rarity in the VPN world.

  • Windows: Supported.
  • Mac: Supported.
  • Routers: Supported. IPVanish even has great support for routers, handy if you want to protect your network at the source.

Overall UX/UI

The ‘Quick Connect’ panel lets you quickly connect to servers using dropdowns in the right-hand corner.

It also shows various stats like time connected, protocol used and a graph of upload and download speeds. This level of detail is rare and I really like it, though it might be intimidating for beginners.

Annoyingly, you have to disconnect if you want to connect to another server. So much for a ‘quick connect’ panel.

The Server List tab gives you the traditional list and map-based interface. The list groups servers by city rather than country.

Clicking on server numbers on the right expands the server list. They helpfully show Ping and Load to help you make a decision. Server names are very long-winded though.

Ironically you don’t have to disconnect to connect to another server here – just click and go.

There’s lots of options for search, sorting and filtering, but some don’t work too well.

For example, if you sort by Load, it doesn’t show loads in much of an order:

You can filter by Country or Latency.

Not sure of the point of the country dropdown, but Latency is useful.

The map version is pretty poor as VPNs go, with an exception for the US, which offers you a choice of regions.

But there’s no zoom control which is awkward, and for Europe it lumps a lot of countries together.

Again the Settings panel has a wealth of options. There’s startup and auto-connect settings, so you can automatically connect to a specific country for example.

You can also choose from IPVanish’s wide range of protocols and choose an OpenVPN port.

Interestingly, here is also where you control the kill switch. Most VPNs have an on/off switch for this in their main panel, so again this is a bit clunky.

You also have the option to Obfuscate your traffic for anti-VPN countries like Saudi Arabia (though be aware this won’t overcome China’s ‘Great Firewall’).

The app (we tested Android) works in the exact same way as the desktop version, so it’s a seamless transition.

Here’s the Quick Connect tab:

And the List tab:

But there’s no map and protocols are OpenVPN only.

It’s slightly more beginner friendly, with a quick tutorial available and some short explanations for the more technical terms under Settings.

One great thing about the app is the split tunneling feature, which lets you select certain apps that won’t use the VPN.

On the other hand, there is no kill switch available on the app, which is very odd considering it’s available on the desktop version.

Usability (Summary)

Netflix and Hulu work in the US only, but Kodi works everywhere. Device compatibility is awesome, covering everything from Smart TVs to Firesticks and routers.

The interface is highly detailed and configurable which advanced users will appreciate, but it’s not ideal for beginners and there’s also a few usability issues. The app features split tunnelling but no kill switch.

Pricing & Refunds

IPVanish offers 3 options for price: 1 month, 1 year or 2 years.

There’s no other variations, so it’s pricing structure is delightfully simple. Personally I like this, though some may prefer to have more options.

The longer you commit the less you pay obviously.

As VPNs go it’s towards the more expensive end of the scale, although the new 2 year option is the closest to the average.

Unfortunately they don’t offer a free trial either, except if you download the iOS app.

They do offer a 7-day money-back guarantee though, so if you sign up and don’t like it, you can always call quits.

This is kind of stingy compared to other money-back guarantees which are 30 days. However, at least they offer one, and also there’s no sneaky clauses involved, so it’s a true guarantee. Anytime you are unsatisfied over the 7 days, just let them know and you will get a full refund.

There’s one exception to this: if you download the iOS app through the App Store, you’re not entitled to the money-back guarantee.  This is probably why they offer a free trial for the iOS app only.

The refund period is 7-10 business days, which is much faster than the 30 days most VPNs offer.

In terms of payment, IPVanish goes against the grain, only offering 2 options: credit card and Paypal.

No international options like Alipay, no crypto, no anything else. They used to offer Bitcoin payments, but unfortunately no longer. Disappointing, especially for those looking to use crypto to stay anonymous.

This is pretty unusual as VPNs go; I’ve never seen so few payment options.

Pricing (Summary)

IPVanish’s pricing strategy is dead simple, but its prices are towards the higher range on average. It’s new 2 year option offers the best value for money.

They offer a free trial for iOS app users, and a 7-day money-back guarantee for others with a 10 business day refund policy. But payment options are sparse and there’s no crypto.

Support

IPVanish offers 24/7 live chat support, which is great. You select which department you need to help speed things up:

All our made-up issues and inane questions were answered within a few minutes, with us being number 1 in the queue, and they were very helpful. You can send files and email a copy of the transcript to yourself.

A nice touch is that if you’re on say IPVanish’s torrenting page, when you open the live chat it will point you to it’s torrenting help articles.

It also shows its system status on it’s help page to let you know if there’s any particular issues.

Very smooth and well thought-out.

They offer email support as well if you prefer that, but they don’t promise to get back to you in any specific timeframe so you might as well use the live chat. They don’t offer phone or Facebook support, although there is a sales number available.

Overall offering high-quality 24/7 live chat support still puts them in the top tier of VPNs though.

What about the online help guides?

Although they don’t waste any time on pretty visuals, they have a decent set of setup guides for everything from Windows to Firesticks to routers.

The guides themselves are very clear with lots of screenshots.

There is a search bar but unlike most VPNs you can actually view most of their articles on one page, which makes things very easily accessible and clearly organised. However, the flip side is that their online help articles aren’t as numerous or extensive as some VPNs. But don’t worry, they definitely cover all the basics and more.

What’s the language like? Although still good, personally I find some of IPVanish’s articles a bit wordy and not as clear and simple as they could be. For example, there are lots of long sentences and paragraphs that could be cut down and broken up. A minor niggle perhaps.

Some of the technical explanations were also not as beginner-friendly and simple as they could be either, which I guess matches their interface.

But overall the information seemed consistent across the site and up-to-date.

Support (Summary)

IPVanish is in the top tier of VPNs with high-quality 24/7 live chat support. They also have a live status showing any particular issues. Help articles are good but not as extensive as some.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

That’s our opinion, but do other reviewers like IPVanish?

Well most rate IPVanish as having high speeds and good, reliable performance with no connection drops in their testing.

Everyone praised IPVanish’s full torrenting access, positive attitude towards torrenting and some mentioned their excellent SOCKS5 proxy.

They liked the secure encryption, leak protection, number of servers and many protocol options. No one else mentioned finding viruses or malware.

They also unanimously liked the device compatibility, including router support.

The main difference was most had a much more positive opinion of IPVanish’s logging policy. Some praised the ‘no logs’ policy, some were suspicious them of brushing over certain things and wanted more clarity. Some brought up the scandal, but weren’t really bothered by it since the company has changed ownership since that point.

Streaming claims varied, with some saying Netflix worked in the US, and some saying it didn’t work anywhere.

However I suspect the latter to be out-of-date, as quite a lot of other facts in these reviews were out of date, such as stating IPVanish offers 5 connections and crypto payments (both no longer true).

A couple pointed out that IPVanish doesn’t offer any static IPs, or malware/adblocking services like others do.

Most didn’t like the interface and app, both in terms of looks and usability, calling it unwelcoming. However a couple praised the desktop version for being packed with features.

They also mentioned of course IPVanish being based in the US.

In terms of support, most said that it was poor but again, they were out of date as they stated IPVanish doesn’t offer live chat support, which now it does. Those that were up-to-date rated the live chat feature as excellent.

In terms of pricing, they generally liked the simplicity of the pricing structure. Some said the price was average and some said the price was high. Opinions also varied on whether IPVanish was good value for money. However, the most up-to-date reviews usually recommended it.

What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)

Other reviewers liked rated IPVanish’s speed, performance, security and torrenting access. They also had more favorable opinions of IPVanish’s logging policy. But most disliked the UX.

Reviewers had mixed opinions on whether IPVanish was worth it for the price, however a lot of them had outdated information. Those that appeared up-to-date generally recommended it.

Our Verdict

IPVanish is pretty fast with a high number of servers and connections allowed, great torrenting, and some great security aspects in terms of encryption and protocols.

It’s great for torrentors and Firestick and Kodi users, and fine if you just need US Netflix and Hulu access.

Support is also great with 24/7 live chat available.

The main drawbacks are the questionable no-logs policy and the fact it’s located in a Five Eyes Alliance country. The interface also isn’t beginner-friendly and there’s the lack of kill switch on the app.

Costs are also slightly higher than average, so the big question is, is it worth it for the price?

Aside from the no-logs policy, I would say it is worth it. However, the potential trust issue puts a dent in this VPN for me, particularly as it’s based in the US where your data, if logged, could be shared. Why take the risk?
For this reason, we give IPVanish an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 and we would not recommend it until IPVanish does more to assure us that its no-logs policy is actually legit.


Latest Reviews

Learn More About VPNs

Leave a Comment

css.php